Pope Francis in yet another strong message said on Friday he understands the young people who lose faith in the church because of bad ministers, and confidence in political institutions because of corruption, but also urged them to change the world.
On the fifth day of his first trip in Brazil Francis went to Rio's Copacabana beach to preside at a Via Crucis (Way of the Cross) service commemorating Jesus' final hours as part of an international jamboree of Catholic youth, the World Youth Day.
Francis urged young people to change a world where food is discarded while millions go hungry, where racism and violence still affront human dignity and where politics is more associated with corruption than service.
Hundreds of thousands of people turned out to see the Argentine-born pope at the theatrical event on the crescent-shaped beachfront, giving him yet another of the frenzied welcomes that have defined his trip so far.
He ordered his open-sided pope-mobile to stop numerous times along the three kilometre route so he could kiss babies and shake hands. He got out several times to walk along the route, making his security detail nervous again.
In his address, Francis used the analogy of the suffering Jesus to ask the young people to ease the sufferings of the world. He used the theme to address issues ranging from hunger and crime to an oblique reference to the child sex abuse scandal that has roiled the Roman Catholic Church in recent years.
Francis spoke of the silence of the victims of violence, those who can no longer cry out, especially the innocent and the defenceless. He said Jesus was united with families whose children were victims of violence and drug addiction.
Jesus is united with every person who suffers from hunger in a world where tons of food is thrown out each day ... with those who are persecuted for their religion, for their beliefs or simply for the colour of their skin, he said.
In a reference to the sex abuse scandal, he spoke of young people who have lost faith in the Church or even in God because of the counter-witness of Christians and ministers of the gospel.
So many young people who have lost faith in political institutions, because they see in them only selfishness and corruption, Francis said.
Last month, Brazil was rocked by massive protests against corruption, the misuse of public money and the high cost of living. Most of the protesters were young.
The suffering of Christ is keenly felt here, the pope said, asking the young people to step outside of themselves and not wash their hands of society's many problems like Pontius Pilate washed his hands of Jesus' fate in the gospel.
It was the second time in as many days that the pope urged young people to exploit their drive and energy to change things.
The first Latin American pope is clearly relishing the enthusiasm at a time when the Church, which once was an unrivalled religious bastion on the continent, is grappling to hold onto faithful.
On Friday, he took on the role of a simple priest and heard confessions of young people. Later, he visited the archbishop's residence, where he again showed his personal touch by lunching with youth and meeting juvenile inmates.
After four straight days of rain and unseasonable cold, the sun returned to Rio and the long evening service that included dramatic re-enactments of Jesus' final hours was held under stars instead of clouds.
But the change in the weather came too late. The rain forced organisers to move this weekend's two final gatherings to Copacabana from a pasture on the outskirts of the city because it had become a vast field of mud.
The final, climatic event of World Youth Day is Sunday, when Francis presides at a closing Mass before returning to Rome that evening and which is expected to convene more than two million people.